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Keizo Kitajima: Back in Okinawa 1980/2009, Limited Edition [SIGNED]

Publisher: New York: PPP Editions, 2009
Edition: 1st Edition
Binding: Soft cover
Condition: New
Item #: 106483



First edition, first printing. Limited edition of 250 copies, signed and numbered in silver ink by Kitajima on a black label tipped in the inside rear cover. Soft cover. Photographically illustrated stiff folio (silkscreened) containing sewn-in, illustrated newsprint pages. Photographs and text (in English and Japanese) by Keizo Kitajima. Unpaginated (36 pp.), with black-and-white plates throughout. 16-3/4 x 12 inches.

Published on the occasion of an exhibition at Andrew Roth Gallery, New York.


New in publisher's packaging.


From an interview with Andrew Roth (July 16, 2010): "Back To Okinawa 1980/2009 is a new version of Keizo Kitajima's serialized, four-volume publication Photo Express Okinawa (1980). The original self-published, serialized edition was scheduled for release every other month, over one year, though only four volumes were realized. Together these four volumes formed one work -- an investigation into the nightlife in Kozu, the red-light district surrounding the Kadena Airforce Base in Okinawa. Kitajima immersed himself in the life of Okinawa's nightclubs, bars and streets, photographing a mix of American military (chiefly African-Americans), Japanese prostitutes and drag queens. The volumes were slim zine-like publications with colorful covers and a graphically-dynamic presentation of black-and-white photographs within. Kitajima had lost the negatives for this work so we needed to scan each image from the original four volumes. Since they were printed in half-tone, the dot pattern became even more apparent after scanning them. It seemed logical not to try and make high quality reproductions from them; they would never have held up. Newsprint offset-printing seemed suitable and again, I wanted to reference Moriyama's title. Moriyama was an important early influence on Kitajima."

From the publisher: "In 1980, Keizo Kitajima, a recent student from Daido Moriyama's 'Workshop,' photographed the nightlife in Okinawa. He preferred the clubs and bars in Koza, the 'red light district,' situated near Kadena, the American Air Force Base. Koza was a hub for American military throughout the 1950s (it flourished during the Vietnam War and no longer exists), although Okinawa and its citizens are still deeply impacted by the American military presence. In the tradition of Watanabe Katsumi, Kitajima made his living by selling photographs to his subjects. It was most profitable for him on paydays. As there were few galleries for photographic exhibitions in Japan, Kitajima planned to self-publish the photographs he made in 1980 as Photo Express Okinawa, a bi-monthly periodical; he realized merely 4 volumes. Each volume concentrates on a specific time frame during a single month (ie: January 1-15), much like a visual diary. The publication resembled Moriyama's Kiroku [Record] (1972-73) that was also self-published: thin volumes with multiple image-bleeds throughout, including the front and back covers.

There are no surviving photographs or negatives from this body of work. The images ... were generated by scanning the material from the rare, original volumes. Back to Okinawa affords us the opportunity to view this material fresh. Ten silkscreens were issued and every image from the four volumes was re-edited into the new publication. Kitajima has added a short text, translated into English, which illuminates his development as a young photographer and his experience in Okinawa. He states: 'Affection, hatred, rejection, acceptance: everything was there in Okinawa and nothing was a given. I wanted to make photographs that transcended all that ... My generation was profoundly impacted by America. It is impossible to objectify my feelings about it.'"